Trying To Get Something Out Of Nothing

October 26, 2016

After over 15 years of litigation, on the eve of trial, Patton & Ryan successfully settled a personal injury action involving a collision between Plaintiff’s vehicle and our client’s bus for a mere fraction of Plaintiff’s $19.3 million demand. In fact, Patton & Ryan’s representation of the bus company was so success­ful, that the settlement obtained was not only far below Plaintiff’s original demand, but amounted to barely half of Plaintiff’s alleged medical expenses.

The collision occurred in a residential area in suburban Chicago when the Plaintiff attempted to illegally pass our client’s bus, which was turning at the intersection to continue on its route. Failing to complete the illegal passing maneuver, Plaintiff side-swiped the bus with the bumper of her vehicle. Plain­tiff alleged that as a result of the fender bender, she sustained severe injuries to her back and neck that required numerous surgeries. Patton & Ryan, how­ever, left no stone unturned, and uncovered the facts that Plaintiff not only had extensive pre-existing medical issues at the time of the accident, but also was involved in prior and subsequent accidents.

Based on the facts unearthed by the Patton & Ryan team’s exhaustive inves­tigation, the case was rightfully viewed as very questionable on liability and damages. Throughout the protracted litigation of this case, Patton & Ryan steadfastly rebuffed Plaintiff’s counsel’s efforts to exploit this very minor mo­tor vehicle accident through exorbitant demands and speculative allegations. A number of Plaintiff’s allegations speculated that there were defects in the bus route and stop at the location of the accident. Patton & Ryan effectively shut down these claims with the very compelling evidence that though the bus stop and route had been in operation for over 30 years before Plaintiff’s collision, not one prior accident had ever been reported at that location.


Although the case was originally filed in 2000, the Patton & Ryan team, brought on in 2006, vigorously readied for the previously set 2007 trial date. So prepared was Patton & Ryan to try the case, that the team pushed to pro­ceed with the trial date as scheduled. Plaintiff, however, was so unprepared for trial that she was forced to non-suit the case.

Eventually, Plaintiff refiled and discovery was reopened. This was not the only impediment to resolving this case, however, as Plaintiff underwent a number of medical procedures allegedly related to the minor car accident that further lengthened the litigation process. Despite the numerous delays in the case, Patton & Ryan continued to provide a zealous defense and aggres­sively prepared the case for trial in the face of Plaintiff’s outrageous settle­ment demands.

On the eve of trial, Patton & Ryan made one final attempt to settle the case. In an effort to tip Plaintiff towards settlement, Patton & Ryan propounded Plaintiff’s counsel with its various pretrial motions to bar testimony regarding all irrelevant evidence and testimony, including Plaintiff’s arguments that the bus stop and route were defective or even remotely relevant to the actual facts of this case. Ultimately, it was Patton & Ryan’s creative and thorough trial preparation in this questionable liability and damages case that directly led the Plaintiff to settle for such a small portion of her original demand the day before the trial was set to commence.